How To Improve Your Photography

How are you gonna make good pictures and how to improve your photography? You’re having a hard time. Yeah, right. You have a very obsolete camera that you are even ashamed to take out in front of other people, you lack the proper lenses, you have no remote trigger, no flash or tripod. And not to mention post-processing, you don’t have Photoshop or any decent photo-editing software installed. How were you going to make good photos?

How To Improve Your Photography

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. There’s one free, lightweight thing you don’t need to buy, or carry in a backpack or anything like that. A powerful thing, one of the very few things over which you have absolute and total control. Something that allows you to greatly improve your photographic results, with the same obsolete camera you complain about.

How To Improve Your Photography

Why Is The Composition So Powerful?

Very simple, a wonderful scene can lose all interest in a bad composition and yet a totally uninteresting object can become very suggestive if a good composition is made.

Today I bring you 9 tips and tricks (with concrete examples) related to the composition, which will help you succeed with your photographs.

Tips And Tricks For Photographic Composition

The first thing we have to decide is which is our center of interest and the frame we want to give to the photograph, horizontal or vertical. The same image can transmit different sensations according to the frame that we give it. Horizontal usually gives a feeling of amplitude or serenity, while vertical is more dynamic.

Now let’s look at the rules and advice you always have to keep in mind.

Rule Of The Thirds

This is the most important of all and is derived from the famous golden ratio.
Divide the image into three thirds both horizontally and vertically and you will have four intersections of lines.

These points of intersection are known as strong points and it is where we must place the object of interest so that our photography has a greater impact. Tip: If you activate your camera’s grid, it will help you to make a good frame from the beginning and not have to resort to editing programs afterwards.

Vertical Frame

Center Of Interest

The girl here is the center of interest

Center Of Interest Is The Eyes

Here, as in any portrait, the centre of interest is the eyes.

Law Of The Horizon

It is not only useful for photos of landscapes in which we have a horizon, but also for any line of the image that helps us divide the composition into two distinct parts. Draw two imaginary lines that section the image into three equal parts and place the horizon in the upper or lower third depending on what you want to highlight. If you have a spectacular sky, you can place the ground line in the lower third and leave the upper two thirds for the sky. Never leave the skyline in the center unless you are photographing a symmetry.

And don’t forget that the ideal is for the horizon line to be completely straight.

The Interest Is In The Sky

As in this composition the interest is in the sky, the horizon looks better at the bottom line.

Wheat Spikes

In this image what is intended to highlight are the spikes, so that the horizon is placed on the top line.

Symmetrical Composition

In this photo we look for symmetry, for that reason, in this case the horizon line is located in the center.

Law Of Gaze

It is very important to leave space in the area to which the person, gaze or object is directed, otherwise it will give a feeling of “squeezed”, as in the first photo.

Incorrect composition, since we have not left space to the right, which is where the subject is placed

Right composition because enough space was left to the left of the frame, direction towards which the subject is looking.

Beware of the proportion of objects
Sometimes we photograph a huge monument with a person in front who is barely visible. Ask him to get closer to the camera, he doesn’t bite!

Big Ben

Big Ben

The Lines

They help us to direct the spectator’s gaze to the object of interest and also to transmit greater or lesser dynamism, depending on whether they are vertical, horizontal or diagonal. But watch out, they should focus attention and not distract it.

The Lines In The Photographic Composition

The Lines In The Photographic Composition

Pattern Effect

Play with the repetition of elements to give a sense of relation to the different parts of the image.

Pattern effect

Pattern effect

Use Natural Frames

A window, door frame, or vegetation can help frame your object of interest by creating greater impact.

Natural Frame

Natural Frame

Fill In The Frame

Fill in the frame with the protagonist and eliminate everything that disturbs the image, come closer if necessary and do not leave empty spaces, unless you intentionally use the opposite technique of negative Space. This one is used more in black and white and above all transmits calm, solitude, isolation…

Too Much Space On The Right Side

Too Much Space On The Right Side


Closer To Filling The Frame

Closer To Filling The Frame

Negative Space Intentionally Sought

Here we see an example of negative space intentionally searched for.

Change Height And Perspective

Try ducking or shooting from a higher angle and see how you like it better. If you take all the pictures standing up, they’ll have less impact. To photograph children or pets, put yourself at eye level.

Perspective with "normal" result

Perspective with “normal” result

Perspective With Improved Result

Here, with a slight change of perspective we have managed to improve the result

Don’t forget that rules are sometimes meant to be broken, but first you have to know them and have a specific intention to break them.

A photograph is the result of collaborative man-machine work. Technological advances undoubtedly make it easier to take a photograph. But there are a multitude of elements, alien to the camera and more typical of the human mind, that give that photograph its true artistic value. The human factor is essential in the creation of a photo. The camera is incapable of managing everything.

The composition is part of that “human factor” I mean. Composing is a man’s own mental activity. A photo says a lot, or says nothing at all, depending on how the photographer composed it. Depending on how you compose a photo, you can transmit a message or its opposite, so be careful: sometimes, due to involuntary errors in composition, you run the risk of transmitting an idea completely different from the one you originally wanted to photograph.

Here are 7 very common composition errors that we have all made at some time, as well as the most recommendable way to avoid them.

Common Compositional Errors And How To Solve Them

Centered Portraits

Never, ever, ever leave the main subject focused on framing. Unless you’re looking for intentional symmetry, portraits generally look much better if we place the subject portrayed on one side of the frame. This is a famous rule of photographic composition called the Rule of Thirds. Applying it almost always leads to very good results.

Distant Portraits

After a centered portrait, the next worst thing in portrait photography is a distant portrait, so distant that the subject is hardly distinguishable. A portrait has to be generous, close and close, presenting the subject as it is. Remember that photography has to provoke something with respect to the photographed subject, it has to arouse some emotion or feeling. Placing ourselves away from the subject makes that end very difficult.

Boring Patterns

Everyone has ever been tempted to photograph repetitive patterns. Patterns are a widely used resource in photography. Stairs, balls, lines, textures,… the repetitiveness of an element within the frame usually marks a rhythm, transmits a certain harmony in the spectator. However, this rhythm can become boring if there is nothing to break it.

In your photos of patterns try to include some singular and outstanding element. That way you’ll give your photo a point of interest.

Too Much Symmetry

We’re back to boring things again. Everything that’s perfectly balanced is bad for your composition. Your photography has to attract attention, produce a “stop for reflection” in the spectator’s mind. You don’t get this with symmetrical things, quite the opposite, you need imbalance.

There are several ways to avoid symmetry: photograph odd things, place the elements in a triangular shape, play with lights and shadows giving more space to light, or shadow if you prefer. If you are going to photograph a group of people, place them at different distances from the camera. Look for the irregularity. Avoid straightness.

Composition Errors

Eclipsing The Real Protagonist

It is a very common mistake to give more prominence to secondary elements in the photo. Most of the time we do it without realizing it. I can think of a few ways to take the main subject out of the limelight: by imprecisely focusing on secondary subjects or objects, by putting the main subject out of the main focus of light, or by using a very brightly coloured background.

In your photos the protagonist must be sacred, and all the tools at your fingertips (lighting, focus, colors, etc.) must be used to enhance your protagonism, not to refute it.

Uninteresting Sunrises And Sunsets

You can hit a spectacular early morning, have all your photographic equipment ready, look for a teaching location, presence of a magic light, and yet end up with a photo of dawn or dusk very uninteresting. Why? Lacking a center of interest.

We start from the premise that the sunrise or sunset itself cannot be the main subject. These are moments of the day that provide an exquisite quantity and quality of light. But in itself, the photo must represent something: it can be a rock, a statue, a landscape, a tree, or even a person. The thing is, you have to photograph “something.” The sunrise itself is not what you photograph. It’s the condition, the moment you take the picture, the light that surrounds the picture. That’s all it is. Beyond that there’s nothing. The sun itself is not of much interest. It is the elements that it illuminates that can constitute a great subject of photography.

Composition Errors

Starting Framing From The Viewfinder

The viewfinder has a very limited viewing angle, usually that of the lens you’re wearing. Why frame from the viewfinder with the viewing angle limitation that this entails?

A good framing always starts with the naked eye, looking directly at the scene we want to photograph. Do your framing mentally, with the camera out of the way. This way you will have a better angle of vision and more creativity when it comes to contributing ideas to your frame. Once you’re happy with your ‘mental framing’, you can now frame through the camera’s viewfinder to confirm, adjust, modify the framing if necessary and shoot the photo.

Remember that composition is the most artistic part of a photo. The camera can manage many things for you, but you take care of the composition.

Composing is the most human factor in your photography. Take care of her.